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FCC Waives Rule Penalizing Spike in Conference Call Traffic

The FCC has waived its rules to make sure that Inteliquent, which carries traffic for teleconferencing services Zoom and WebEx (Cisco) can continue to handle the teleworking load of a homebound workforce and student population in the age of coronavirus, and do so without being penalized for that boost in traffic under these extraordinary circumstances. 

The FCC said it had temporarily waived access arbitrage rules that would have increased the cost of providing the services, triggered by that big boost in traffic.  

“Given the sharp increase in conference calling traffic, we’ve granted a waiver to Inteliquent so it can continue to provide service to these platforms, specifically by avoiding unintended, negative financial consequences under our access arbitrage rules," said FCC chairman Ajit Pai. "Those rules targeted companies that have been exploiting our intercarrier compensation system by generating inflated call volumes to pad their bottom lines. They weren’t intended to ensnare companies that, during a national emergency, are experiencing unprecedented call volumes that would push them out of compliance without a waiver.”  

The waiver expires June 1, 2020, though Inteliquent can seek another waiver in the unfortunate event that it is still needed. 

John Eggerton
John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.